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The book of Jonah is full of surprises, and this is no less true for us today than it was for its original readers. How is it possible that a city like Nineveh would repent? Why does Jonah seem so out of touch with the God who calls him to act as a prophet? And the end of the book asks readers the same question that God poses to Jonah: to what extent is their character truly in accord with that of the God whom they claim to serve?
At the same time, Jonah centres on the grand theme of the Bible: the manifestation of God’s unmerited grace to those who have sinned against him. However, despite its brevity, Jonah raises challenging theological questions regarding mission and religious conversion; and there is no shortage of fascinating historical aspects, along with the various unexpected plot twists.
In this stimulating biblical–theological study, Daniel Timmer examines the book’s historical backgrounds (in both Israel and Assyria), discusses the biblical text in detail, and pays special attention to redemptive history and its Christocentric orientation. He explores the relationship between Israel and the nations – including the question of mission – and the nature of religious conversion and spirituality in the Old Testament.
Timmer also argues that the book of Jonah was written to facilitate spiritual change in its readers, and our study is not complete until we have wrestled with it on those terms.
The New Studies in Biblical Theology offer creative expositions of key issues in understanding the Bible.
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